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Villanova Basketball should never “play for next season”

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Developing players doesn’t mean giving up.

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Happy Monday Nova Nation! Okay, not even I can feign happiness after Nova lost for the fourth time in five games. Is the sky falling? No. But are there problems? Yes.

Most of them are fixable. Wright showed in the Xavier game that he’s trying to improve minute distribution, which is better late than never. Booth and Paschall need rest, and they’re going to get it with a week off between Butler and Seton Hall. Unfortunately that means they still have to play two games before the team’s captains get a prolonged break. Speaking of the seniors, rest or not they need to start making better decisions, especially late in games. Catching the ball, standing still, making a ball fake, and then jacking a contested three isn’t my idea of an ideal offense... or any offense.

The fan base is calling for a lot of these changes, and I agree with most of them. But the one that I can’t stand is people implying or flat out asking for Wright to start focusing on next year. Suggesting that Jahvon Quinerly should start or that Joe Cremo should be benched not only makes my blood boil, but it makes me question if these are actual Villanova fans. I’m not saying Wright shouldn’t develop his players or get more minutes for younger guys, but he should never abandon a season to “play for next year.”

We are going to see more minutes for young guys like Quinerly. I think most everyone agrees that Wright is living with the results of a tough decision he had to make early in the season. Back in November it became clear that the freshmen outside of Saddiq Bey were not as prepared or developing as quickly as he’d hoped. He could either continue struggling through non-conference play, or rely more heavily on his more experienced players. He chose the latter, and for a while it worked. But the price is that now when those guys are gassed from playing too many minutes, especially Booth and Paschall, younger guys like Quinerly and Slater haven’t had the playing time to be able to contribute as significant role players in February and March. That doesn’t mean they won’t play, but the struggles we normally see early in the season will now be happening when the games mean the most. I don’t blame Wright for making a mistake, hindsight is always 20/20. He’s admitted the minute distribution needs to change, and I believe it will. But just because Quinerly and Slater will (and should) play more minutes, doesn’t mean you go all out and abandon this season.

Frankly, that mindset of “play for next year” is something we never would have heard before 2016. Villanova has won two of the last three Championships and has been a 1 or 2 seed for five consecutive years. Statements like that reek of spoiled fans who are giving up on teams that can’t win them a Championship or compete at the highest level. The Nova Nation doesn’t need fans that give up on players, whether they’ve been here for one year or five. We don’t want fans that are more focused on missing out on a Top 2 seed than they are excited for Nova’s 13th NCAA Tournament appearance in 14 years. I don’t want to root alongside fans who don’t remember that “Attitude” came long before any Championship banners were hung. In case you forgot, that mantra is all about controling how you respond when things aren’t going your way. It’s not about being perfect or always winning, it’s about learning from mistakes and keeping a positive attitude.

Develop young talent? Absolutely. Give up on a player, a team, or a season? NEVER.

In other “news”, Bryan Antoine wins a second championship, Ryan Arcidiacono has had one hell of a first half of the NBA season, and this amazing thing happened. Enjoy!

Villanova Loses To Xavier

What Xavier's upset of Villanova means for the Big East race | NCAA.com
Xavier tossed No. 17 Villanova on Sunday by a score of 61-48, handing the Wildcats their third straight loss in front of a raucous crowd at the Cintas Center. It's Villanova's first 3-game losing streak since January 2013. For Xavier, this is a big win late in a season that recently saw them go through a six-game losing streak.

Big East basketball: Xavier Musketeers shock No. 17 Villanova Wildcats | Cincinnati.com
Xavier played some of its best basketball of the season to snag its best win of the season Sunday, 66-54 over No. 17 Villanova.

Reeling Villanova suffers 9-minute scoring drought, loses 66-54 to Xavier | The Inquirer
The Wildcats led 44-41 but didn't score again for 9 minutes, 9 seconds, missing 11 straight shots and suffered their fourth straight loss on the road.

No. 17 Villanova stumbles to 3rd straight loss, falls to Xavier | NBC Sports Philadelphia
No. 17 Villanova's offense struggled mightily Sunday afternoon in a 66-54 loss to Xavier, the third straight defeat for the Wildcats.

Xavier’s Defense Propels Them to a 66-54 Win Over Villanova: Recap | Banners On The Parkway
Xavier held Villanova to just 54 points, and 24 in the second half to get their fourth straight win, 66-54.

Elias Harden’s shining moment sparks Xavier’s biggest win of the season | The Athletic
CINCINNATI – Elias Harden has struggled to get minutes this season, but he made the most of them in an upset of No. 17 Villanova.

Class of 2019

Ranney seniors add to legacy with back-to-back championships | USA Today
Scottie Lewis led Ranney School with 27 points to lead the Super 25 team won its second straight Shore Conference Tournament championship.

Friday’s Southeastern Pa. roundup: Jaye Haynes drains winning shot to lead Germantown Academy girls’ basketball to the PAISAA championship
The top games and performances from Friday's action in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

NBA Wildcats

Chicago Bulls: Ryan Arcidiacono appreciation post and film study | Pippen Ain't Easy
Ryan Arcidiacono has been a huge reason for the Chicago Bulls' recent success, so here's an appreciation post and film study for the second-year guard.

Lakers News: Josh Hart 'Soon To Be 100' Percent Following PRP Injection | Lakers Nation
Josh Hart has struggled mightiily for the Los Angeles Lakers since hurting his knee, but he hopes to be 100 percent soon after a PRP injection.

NBA proposes changing draft age from 19 to 18 to players union | ESPN
Reducing the NBA's draft-eligible age requirement from 19 to 18 is one step closer after the league formally proposed the rule change to the players' union, USA Today reported.

Bubbles and Brackets

NCAA tournament Bubble Watch: What Furman says about selection this season | ESPN
Here's your updated source for all the latest on the NCAA tournament bubble.

Bracketology Bubble Watch: Minnesota, NC State look to avoid disappointing losses on Sunday | CBSSports.com
Tracking the bubble teams in action over the weekend.